The closing days of May were not kind to the Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution. Judging by the recent matchups between the clubs, the Fire might have the better chance to rebound with a victory to start this month.
They’ll try to earn that while adding to their recent success against New England on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
After going 3-1-1 over its first five league games in May, Chicago fell 2-1 at Columbus last Saturday, giving up both goals in the first half. Rookie defender Austin Berry scored his second MLS goal in the 72nd minute, but the Fire (5-4-3) couldn’t find the equalizer.
“We came out there a little lazy, and I think we let the heat get to us a little bit,” Berry told the league’s website. “We gave up two soft goals, but I thought we pushed pretty well in the second (half).”
They followed that defeat with an upset loss during the third round of U.S. Open Cup play in Pontiac, Mich., on Tuesday. The Fire conceded a goal in the third minute of extra time in a 3-2 setback to the Michigan Bucks of the USL Premier Development League.
In another U.S. Open Cup game that same night in Pennsylvania, New England blew a 3-0 lead to the host Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Pro Division and lost 4-3 on penalty kicks.
“Obviously, it’s going to be tough for a couple of days,” goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth told the league’s website. “We have to go back to work tomorrow and try to get three points on Saturday.”
The Revolution, 1-2-1 over their last four MLS games, might have trouble earning points against the Fire. Chicago is 4-0-1 in its last five matchups with New England (4-7-1) and 3-1-3 over its past seven visits to Gillette.
The Revolution are also 0-4-1 against Eastern Conference foes this season, including a 3-2 loss at D.C. United last weekend. Saer Sene and A.J. Soares rallied New England from a 2-0 deficit, but D.C.’s Maicon Santos tallied the tiebreaking goal in the 61st minute.
Ryan Guy scored two late goals during the most recent matchup with the Fire in Bridgeview, Ill., on Sept. 25, but New England gave up three in the first 30 minutes of a 3-2 loss. The teams played to a 1-all draw in New England on June 18.
Chicago might have some help as it seeks to earn some more points at the Revolution’s expense with forward Chris Rolfe potentially making his return Saturday.
Rolfe, who registered 40 goals and 20 assists for the Fire from 2005-09, spent the past three seasons with Aalborg in the Danish Superliga. He has spent the past few weeks recovering from a sprained ankle, which he suffered during his second practice with the team.
“It’s doing quite a bit better,” Rolfe said. “It’s still an issue to talk with the (coaches and medical staff) about, but it’s doing well.”
The Revolution, meanwhile, are expected to be thin in the midfield with injuries to Guy (calf) and Clyde Simms (ankle).
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